Day 29 – Portomarín to Melide, 25.83 miles
My mission for the next 2 days was straightforward – walk from A to B, B to C. No more fretting about the crowds, no more scheming and maneuvering. Just walk west in whatever situation I find myself in.
With the decision to walk on to Santiago made, the consequences of that choice were quickly revealed leaving Portomarín. There was large crowd of people walking through the middle of the town, and the first coffee shop had a line of about 30 people. I moved on to another option near the edge of town, the line here was only 10 people, so I waited. Patience is an area of constant growth opportunity for me. After a 27-minute wait and with coffee-to-go in hand, I walked out of town.
I couldn’t believe my eyes when I rounded the corner to cross the river…there was a continuous stream of people around the corner, down the road, and across the bridge. The crowd was divided in two across the bridge, one route went left and the other right. I took the right, it appeared slightly less crowded.
From the right fork, the Camino makes a steep climb out of the river valley. Halfway up the hill, I met a rugby coach from Australia. We were the same age and had similar interests, we walked and talked about sports, mentoring youth, the Camino (it was also his 2nd time), and world politics the 24 kilometers to Palas de Rei, his stopping point for the day.
Walking in good company helps one to forget the trials of the trail.
I had decided to make today a long walk since yesterday was short. Melide was my target, another 14.7 kilometers away. This would end up being the longest walking day of my life, nearly 26 miles, but it was a good test. I paced myself, stayed hydrated, fueled with chocolate cake, and arrived at Albergue San Antón around 6:00 pm.
Like most of my other afternoon walks, I had the whole Camino to myself, seeing only 2 other pilgrims on the path from Palas de Rei and Melide.
San Antón was a fully self-contained shelter – food, bar, laundry, and a great garden in the back. I showered, ate a burger, drank a glass of wine, and then went to sleep. It was a big day.